Polling Fail

I’ll leave it to those more experienced in examining polling techniques to determine whether the New York Times has faked up this poll. They often do that (artifically inflating the number of Democrats polled is their usual technique). But even so, this poll looks weird. They only contacted 412 people? People known to then from other polls? It all stinks to high heaven.

But even so, here is the crux of the thing.

After five years of Pope Benedict’s papacy, Catholics in the United States are estranged from the hierarchy in Rome, with most saying the Vatican is out of touch with the needs of Catholics and more than three out of four saying it is not necessary to believe in the pope’s authority to be a good Catholic.

Trust me. Catholics are not estranged from the hierarchy in Rome. These are all findings that the Times wanted to make. They have followed their typical disingenous path – first they pound a story hard, get the facts wrong but keep pounding away at their message. Then, they take a poll that miraculously shows that everyone agrees with them.

It is all very dirty business.

The Times has taken to pursuing a bizarre sort of jounalism, where the first several paragraphs of any story tell the story they would like to be true. Then, it is followed by a recitation of facts. But the facts usually don’t really support the stuff they told you at the top of the story. It is all very weird.

But even with their twisting, the poll really does not show what they wanted it to show:

The poll shows that slightly more Catholics believe the news media have blown the story out of proportion than those who say it has been accurately reported. Most say the news media have been harder on the Catholic Church than on other religions. Those who attend Mass regularly are even more critical of the news media.

…Many Catholic respondents indicated that they saw a change in how their church had handled the sexual abuse problem over time. A broad majority of Catholics said that in the past, the Vatican and American bishops were far more focused on covering up sexual abuse by priests than preventing it, but that now the reverse was true.

But a majority said sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests was still going on.

Well, of course it is “still going on”. After all, last year there were six credible cases in a church of 65 million people. But see how a question can be manipulated by the Times? It was still going on, just as it does in all human populations. But at such an incredibly low rate, the Pope is to be congratulated, not pilloried.

And the poll shows the Times has essentially lost their war on the Pope:

Forty-three percent say they have a favorable opinion of him, and only 17 percent have an unfavorable view.

Only 17% have a negative view of the Pope? After the Times has painted him as the greatest child abuser of all time? My that is surprising. And, in all likelihood, 15% had a negative view of him before this latest “scandal”.

Still, that leaves a lot of people with no view at all. Can the Times spin this fact?

Still, 38 percent express no opinion about him at all, a decidedly blank reaction to a pope who made a highly publicized trip to the United States only two years ago and has issued three encyclicals, or formal teaching letters, on morality or doctrine

What an attempt to spin. He made a trip to the U.S.. And he issued encyclicals – everybody reads those, don’t they? How utterly pathetic. What creepy, creepy attempted spinning of the facts.

Now, there is really no reason to trust this poll at all, it was done by the Times. The most we can say is that, even with all the cards stacked in their direction, with the data probably manipulated, the sampling corrupted, and with the questions all slanted, they were still unable to get what they wanted.

But the fact that it was published on page A12 of the Times, and then split and the juicy bits further buried on page A20, tells you something. The Times is astonished that their attacks have had so little effect.

And isn’t this interesting: They quote someone from Wisconsin, who they describe as ” a 64-year-old quilter and crafter in Orfordville, Wis., said in a follow-up interview”:

“The sexual abuse issue goes back to the Vatican. They allowed it to be covered up for so long because they didn’t want the church to look bad. Had a woman been pope, she wouldn’t have allowed it. She would have strung up these guys herself.”

My, what a colorful, pro-Times sort of quote. This person is active on Amazon.com, and their wishlist includes:

Wish List

Imagine that. Vampire/Magic books.

I wonder how the Times happened to select her. Surely it was all very random.

Yes, the Times campaign is failing, yet again. Well, it’s no wonder, becasuse the Times has gone from one of the most respected papers in the world to one of the most reviled and laughed-at papers in the world.

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